Reading What Sucks

Jun 26, 2006 01:24 # 43163

bvsa508 *** posts about...

Our current use of language

99% | 7

I am well aware that the way that we expressive ourselves is important. There is nothing worse than listening to a person tell a story who manages to use the "f" word as a noun, adjective and a verb in the same sentence. The progression of language is certainly an interesting topic too.

There is just one problem. I'm not particularly bright.

I read and listen as much as possible for what I hope to be an improvement in myself. I just feel around the internet there seems to be a use of words that would be out of place at the world dictionary conference. There also seems to be a use of inappropriate words. Why are we using erroneous, fallacious instead of simply, bad? Of course there are words that have to be used in explaining exactly what you mean.

I have nothing against people being colourful and descriptive.

The forums here have found a lovely balance between being intelligent but not being elitist. It is one of the reasons I joined. (Fair enough I have dictionary.com in a second IE window just in case). If you've ever read other dicussion sites or news editorials, I feel I'm missing out on something. There seems to be a massive use of uneeded terms and words coming in to all types of literature as of late.

I am sad to be writing this because I feel like the stupid guy hanging off the coat tails of evolution trying to slow everything down. But shouldn't the most intelligent, be helping the (mentally) less fortunate, like myself? I'm not saying dumb down, and maybe I should just stick to my own level of reading. But I am one of those people who would love to participate in current affairs, forums of important issues etc. but am being left out because my grasp of our language is still growing.

I would love to hear your thoughts on our current use of language.

Jun 27, 2006 05:16 # 43166

DjangoDurango * replies...

It's All About Connotation

80% | 3

I can dig what you mean. I'm a writer myself, so I really pay attention to how people say and write things, and it bothers me just as much when inappropriate woirds are used. I think there's a difference between being articulate and simply using big words. They come off sounding that that guy from Sin City. The one who uses about eight words to describe the car they've stolen when two would've done just as well.

It's all about connotation for me. A lot of people don't seem to realize that not all words are created equally, particularly when they're using their thesaurus. It's like brick red and fire truck red are both shades of red, but they're not the same color. "Dislike" and "abhor" mean vaguely the same thing and will both show up on any thesaurus when you type in "hate", but to use them interchangably would result in either exaggeration or understatement. I specifically check words that are new to me to see exactly what shade of meaning they have because of how broad the matches most thesaurauses make are.

So far as swear words go... Well, I like to curse. A lot. But too many crammed into too small of space without adequate reasoning for it chaps my ass. In the written word, I feel everything needs to be justified.

If ever there was an argument for sittin' down and shuttin' up, Henry Harrison is it.

Jun 29, 2006 17:56 # 43202

Hawkeye *** replies...

Re: It's All About Connotation

82% | 4

There is just one problem. I'm not particularly bright.
I read and listen as much as possible for what I hope to be an improvement in myself.

My dear friend, I think you've already contradicted yourself regarding the fact that you are not particularly bright. I find that the most brilliant people I've ever come to know all have one thing in common: all are humble when you ask how knowledgeable they are. That's the defining feature, in my opinion. If you have seen enough to admit to yourself that there is much more to learn, you are already brighter than 90% of the world's population.

And the fact that you are willing to improve yourself, in my eyes, makes you an intellectual elite, or at least, a future intellectual elite if you stay your course.

Regarding language, I believe those who speak with complicated words only do so to sound superior or because they feel no other word could possibly fit (including but not only smaller words). And those who do so in order to find the word that fits only get that way through years of reading books.

And arguably, profanity has its place as well. I think that when formality is not a problem, using coarse language is great for emphasis. However, too much defeats the purpose, and gets boring to listen to like anything else spoken repeatedly. Though, I think for the purposes of this site, there are always better ways to express oneself with emphasis in a post without running the risk of offending everyone who reads it.

If the world should blow itself up,the last audible voice would be an expert saying it can't be done

Aug 01, 2006 04:26 # 43302

zen *** replies...

Re: Our current use of language

93% | 2

Intelligence is relative. I've been told that there's actually 7 types of intelligences. Let's see how many I can remember...mechanical, mathematical/logical, language, intuitive/creative, memory...I believe. The point is, they are all relative. One usually excells in one area, is lousy in one, and is average in the rest. That's the secret of the human brain...we all have something we're good and bad at.

Intelligence is relative, and often based on experience. One of my criteria for intelligence, at least in the realm of the written word, here in open forums like this, is the ability to stay on track, and keep to the topic.
In my experience, some of the smartest, most astute people are those who can form complete thoughts, develop the ideas, and follow them through to a logical conclusion--without embellishing too much into side issues, or inconsequential tangents. In other words, make your point, show what you mean, finish. Your post has met that standard of intellegence. Logically speaking, you've show intelligence.

However, if I were to judge your relative intelligence based on grammar, spelling, sentence structure and other language-based criterion, my assessment of your smarts would be much different.
But let's compare these two concepts for a moment. In my Literature and Composition classes (and let's face it, we are, by default, talking about writing, 'cause we're all writing over here), I would receive two grades, presented like a fraction. My grade might look like this: B+/C-. The top grade is the content: your ideas and your ability to express your ideas, make them work, and how you supported your theme, or central idea. The bottom grad is the mechanics: grammar, spelling, sentence structure, composition, word choice, etc.

The signifigance of these two "grades" is this: the mechanics you can improve. Your spelling will improve, if you keep at it. Your punctuation will improve, if you work it; same thing with grammar. There are rules that you memorize, and you "become intelligent" in your written work.
However, that top grade, the content, what you have to say, the message--your "voice" is NOT something that can be learned, or memorized. Either you have it, or you don't. You get it, or you don't.

This follows through to those who use 4-letter words. They don't get it. They don't have the means of expressing themselves any better. They can read the dictionary, memorize more words, but the content within their expression is flat, stale, boring.
The most important tool to developing your brain is the ability to question what you see and hear. Without that, you're just another fool with nothing interesting to contribute to the conversation.

Once Fred Neitszche declared God is Dead, f*ck became the most important word in the English languag

This post was edited by zen on Aug 01, 2006.

Sep 06, 2006 15:24 # 43423

Salvial_Ten *** throws in her two cents...

Re: Our current use of language

I am sad to be writing this because I feel like the stupid guy hanging off the coat tails of evolution trying to slow everything down. But shouldn't the most intelligent, be helping the (mentally) less fortunate, like myself? I'm not saying dumb down, and maybe I should just stick to my own level of reading. But I am one of those people who would love to participate in current affairs, forums of important issues etc. but am being left out because my grasp of our language is still growing.

Eh, you aren't stupid. Sure, you might be new, and possibly a little awkward in your newness. But you aren't stupid. Like Zen mentioned earlier, you could use a tune up in the mechanical area but everyone here has read worse.

Furthermore, the only way you're gonna get a better grasp of our language is to grab that bull by the horns and run with it. Write! I promise so long as you don't use "txt msg shrt cuts" in excess I think you'll find the response you get to what you say will be quite positive (even if people do disagree with you).

The only way to improve is to challenge yourself. If little kids just stuck with reading Dick and Jane books they'd lose out on centuries of writing because they never challenged what they arleady knew. I try to read at least things a month that outrank my current skill level with reading. Sadly enough, I can admit to strungling with reading Aristotle to a degree. Conceptually I can understand it but sometimes the sentance structure and vocabulary usage kicks my ass. But I go over it again, and again till it finally starts to make sense. And that's what you should do with things that you struggle with.

--Jami

--Jami Yeah, that's gonna sting in the morning.


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